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In close to twenty years of reviewing, yours Cranky has watched more than his fair share of movie trilogies. Trust me. There really are trilogies out there that you've never heard of (but we stopped covering foreign films 'cuz you didn't want to know . . . ) At the very, very bottom of the list of the most incomprehensible and total waste of our time 3-time sits is the one featuring Bourne. So we thought long and hard about ditching the fourth film in the series, The Bourne Legacy, which is . . .
IN SHORT: The way it should have been done in the first place. [Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences.135 minutes]
So, for the last time, we just didn't understand the first trilogy. The Bourne Legacy, on the other hand, plays like something we've read in bits and pieces in the running continuity of Marvel Comics' Wolverine character. Universal is going to hate that we wrote that but, since most of our readers know Marvel only from what they see on the big screen. . . and we doubt that Robert Ludlum spent any time neck deep in early copies of (Uncanny) X-Men as we still do . . . it's a compliment. Add to it a healthy lift from the re-imagined original Captain America origin (remember: we fanboy. you confused) and you could easily dismiss the screenplay as a steal. We don't care. We love seeing superheroes come to life and if we're in the minority, so be it.
If we follow this new story correctly, and we don't have a real good history with following Bourne continuity, The Bourne Legacy begins with the concept that, if the CIA could be successful in making a regular agent into a superspy, imaging what could happen if (it) could scientifically enhance his senses and physical abilities as well. Thus, the Outcome program with subject Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) in the middle of a training exercise in Alaska. Man vs. Wild. Man vs. wild wolf. You know, the usual.
Cross is, we shall learn, the fifth of nine "outcomes" in this next-generation. After his battle with Alaska he finds respite in a remote log cabin whose resident is - now get this - with Outcome #3 (Oscar Isaac). In the wilds of Alaska . . . where nothing goes bump in the night. We mean that literally. The pair aren't sure if they are to be allies or if one has been assigned to kill the other. It adds a wee bit of tension to the early part of the movie as CIA bigwigs Colonel Eric Byer, ret. (Edward Norton) and Admiral Mark Turso, ret. (Stacy Keach) try to contain the Bourne mess, which has broken big in the New York newspapers.
For those that want to read it first, Admiral Turso runs Colonel Byer and both may have their heads handed to them by CIA boss Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn). unless they can clean up the mess that was Bourne disaster -- the first trilogy is freely referred to in the film but doesn't getting in the way. The decision made is to eliminate everyone involved in the development of everything that led to, and that has followed in the wake of, Bourne.
Not their fellow CIA operatives, of course. But all of the scientists involved, at a pharmaceutical corporation called Cadent are. It is a slaughter which unites Cross and one Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz); he to find an antidote for the virus that Bourne'd him and she to stay alive ahead of various CIA and hired-on goons. With CIA killers
That's the best we can do. We, inevitably, know that we are about to be slammed by readers who loved the trilogy and hated us for not "getting it." Fan reviewers, all of whom worship the original, have been slamming this film way before it was even legit to diss. We don't care. The first trilogy, for us, was impossible to follow. If this version is to be considered dumbed down, well, we've always been a dumb-downed critic so there you go.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Bourne Legacy, he would have paid . . .
dateflick rating 'cuz Hey . . . It's a movie. It's not the end of the [you-know] world! You can hate it as much on a date as you might like it. With all respect to the fanboys, we see hundreds more films than you do. If we need a light weight Bourne to get it, we got it. So shut up <vbg>
If The Bourne Legend had been a comic book adaptation, fan critics would be cheering. If the Gilroy brothers feel dissed that we found their screenplay to have similarities to over 40 years of obscure Marvel continuity, they shouldn't be. We enjoyed seeing it all play out on screen, sans spandex.
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